Saturday, February 14, 2009

IQ rediscovered -- including its heritability and its link to social class

Charles Murray documented all this years ago. Vocabulary is the best single predictor of IQ. Including gestures in vocabulary does however give the new study some originality.
Children who communicate using a wide variety of gestures at the age of 14 months have a much larger vocabulary at age four-and-a-half, and fare much better in school, a study said. [Something that IQ studies told us long ago]

Researchers from the University of Chicago worked with 50 Chicago-area families with different social backgrounds, filming children and their careers during ordinary activities at home for 90-minute sessions. The study, published in the journal Science, found that "differences in child gesture could be traced to differences in parent gesture."

On top of that, psychologist Meredith Rowe said the study found that socioeconomic status differences are clearly evident in the initial stages of language learning. Fourteen-month-old children from "high-income, well-educated families used gesture to convey an average of 24 different meanings," said the researchers in a statement. Same-aged children from lower-income families conveyed only 13 different meaningful gestures. The differences continued on into the child's command of vocabulary in school, the study said.

"Child gesture could play an indirect role in word learning by eliciting timely speech from parents, for example, in response to her child's point at a doll, mother might say 'yes, that's a doll,' thus providing a word for the object that is the focus of the child's attention," the authors wrote in the report. Vocabulary is a "key predictor of school success and is a primary reason why children from low-income families enter school at a greater risk of failure than their peers from advantaged families," said co-author Susan Goldin-Meadow.


The irrational Leftist obsession with their "All men are equal" myth has led to IQ becoming a banished topic -- so the authors above may in fact have been simply unaware that what they had rediscovered was IQ. Certainly, anyone familiar with the IQ research would have predicted all of their findings.

The ban on even thinking about IQ does lead to a lot of follies, particularly in the education field. Vast efforts are made, for instance, to get average black educational achievement up to white levels. But no matter what bright ideas the educators try, the gap stubbornly remains. Again, anybody familiar with average black IQ scores would have predicted that result and told the educators to stop wasting time and money and direct their efforts in more profitable directions. If your theory is wrong, you won't get the results you expect and the results that the educators get certainly falsify their theories regularly -- while the same results validate the IQ concept.

Another folly -- this time in research about secondhand smoke -- that was brought on by ignoring IQ is set out on my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog today.

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